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Indian smartphone industry in Year 2016: Takeaway points



smart phones

New Delhi, December 16: With nearly 250 million unique smartphone users in the country and the figure set to reach the 280 million mark by the end of this year, the Indian smartphone industry — that surpassed the US to become the world’s second-largest market by users in 2016 — is set to break new records.

In a year of several firsts — the first modular smartphone G5 from South Korean giant LG and TCL 560 that came equipped with a unique eye-verification feature from Chinese electronics brand TCL Corporation to the delight of Indian users — leading smartphone makers clearly zeroed in on flagship devices packed with features never heard of.

South Korean smartphone maker Samsung was the first to launch its flagship smartphone Galaxy S7 and its curved-screen companion Galaxy S7 Edge in March at irresistible prices of Rs 48,900 and Rs 56,900, respectively.

The smartphones came with innovations in design, imaging, software functionality and connectivity with a host of other services. The company also introduced the first dual-pixel camera on Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge devices.

In March, tech giant Apple stunned its rivals by launching a cheaper, smaller yet powerful iPhone SE. Regarded as the cheapest iPhone model so far, the phone came in two variants — 16GB and 64GB.

Taiwan-based HTC also unveiled its flagship HTC 10 in May that competes with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge and iPhone 6s/6s Plus. It offered great multi-tasking abilities.

While the world of technology was going ga-ga over the future of modular smartphones, LG translated the concept into reality with the G5 — its flagship device that upped the ante for other vendors in the customised smartphone market.

The Rs 52,990 G5 features a “slide-out” battery design and dual rear cameras — the only device to feature dual primary cameras which work independent of each other.

Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus in June launched its flagship all-rounder OnePlus 3, with 6GB RAM and a unique dash-charge feature that gives 60 per cent of battery life in flat 30 minutes.

July marked the entry of game-changer TCL 560 smartphone by TCL Corporation and is the only device sub-8K that comes with iris-based “EyeVerify” unlock feature.

Ending round-the-clock rumours, the Cupertino-giant Apple in September unveiled its much-anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, along with next-generation ‘Apple Watch Series 2’.

iPhone 7 features breakthrough new camera systems, the best battery life ever in an iPhone and water and dust resistance. The device also has a dual-core processor with GPU that is up to two times faster.

Set to counter Apple’s iOS 10 and intelligent assistant Siri, Google came with Pixel in October –– the first phone made by Google with the Google Assistant built right in, bringing together the best of Google’s software and world-class hardware.

Other Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo also kept the momentum going by bringing high-end specifications in flagship devices. Domestic players such as Micromax and Karbonn also introduced their share of devices in the sub-10K category.

In 2016, users also witnessed many new devices with virtual reality (VR) capabilities, improved optics, powerful processors and longer battery back-up. Smartphones with heavy-duty front cameras (remember Vivo V5?) also arrived every now and then.

Another highlight of the year was “Make in India” announcements from smartphone makers like global internet technology conglomerate LeEco — a new entrant in India that created quite a ripple with its popular range of “Superphones” like Le 1s Eco, Le 2 and Le Max 2. Other such manufacturing announcements/commitments came from Micromax, Vivo India, Huawei and LG, among others.

Highlights of the Indian smartphone industry in 2016:

* India overtook the US to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market by users

* The country touched nearly 250 million unique smartphone users and the figure was set to reach the 280 million-mark by the end of the year

* Several smartphone makers announced they would start manufacturing in India

* The smartphone market in India crossed the 30 million unit shipments milestone for the first time ever in a quarter in third quarter of 2016.

By Anuj Sharma (IANS)


80% Indian internet users browse YouTube: Google

Touching 225 million monthly active users on mobile alone, India is one of the fastest-growing countries for the video platform, the company said.




Mumbai, March 23 : With the increasing penetration of smartphones, data becoming affordable and ever-growing availability of content, 80 per cent of internet users across all age-groups in the country are accessing YouTube, Google India said on Friday.

The Google-owned company highlighted how YouTube is associated with India’s internet growth story at “Brandcast 2018” event as it celebrated its 10th anniversary in the country since its launch in 2008.

“For brands, YouTube is now an end-to-end platform and as per the December 2017 ‘ComScore Video Metrix Multi-Platform’ it reaches 85 per cent of all highly engaged internet users, in the 18 years and above age-group,” Rajan Anandan, Vice-President, South East Asia and India, Google, said in a statement.

Touching 225 million monthly active users on mobile alone, India is one of the fastest-growing countries for the video platform, the company said.

“We now have more than 300 channels with over a million subscribers, from just 16 channels in 2014. We will continue to invest in programmes to support creators, and encourage more diversity and distribution of their content,” said Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer, YouTube.

The total number of online video consumers is expected to reach 500 million by 2020, the company said citing a report by FICCI-EY.

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Vivo V9 with 19:9 ‘FullView’ display launched in India



vivo v 7
Vivo 7 smartphone

Mumbai, March 23: Chinese smartphone maker Vivo on Friday launched the V9 for Rs 22,990. This is the company’s first flagship device in India with dual rear cameras.

The cameras come with 16MP+5MP sensors, 19:9 “FullView” display 2.0, and have the highest screen-to-body ratio of 90 per cent, the company said in a statement.

Prospective buyers can pre-book the device at retail stores, Vivo E-store, Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall.

“We are confident that our latest flagship will set new benchmarks in the smartphone industry,” said Kent Cheng, CEO, Vivo India.

Vivo V9’s rear camera offers features such as ultra HD, slo-mo, live photos, retina flash, and Augmented Reality (AR) stickers.

The device sports a 24MP selfie camera with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The bezels on the smartphone measure 1.75-mm so that a 6.3-inch display could be accommodated in a traditional 5.5-inch body, the company added.

Vivo V9 also comes with “Game Mode” that would allow users to block all messages, calls, and alerts during gaming sessions.

The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor coupled with 4GB RAM, and 64GB internal storage and is fuelled by a 3,260 mAh battery.

The smartphone will be available in champagne gold, and pearl black colours at all retail stores starting April 2.


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Snapchat rolls out ‘Map Explore’ to find friends, events



San Francisco, March 23: Photo-sharing app Snapchat has rolled out a new feature called “Map Explore” that will make it easier for users to find events and see friends’ updates on Snap Map.

Snap said the travel and location updates will automatically appear on user’s Snap Map when friends opt to share their location, The Verge reported on Thursday.

The feature will also show Explore updates for Story snaps, including breaking news and other events from around the world, the report added.

“We made ‘Map Explore’ because we noticed that when you open the Map, you aren’t always sure where to start your journey,” Snapchat was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Unless you swiped outside your city, you might never see some of the amazing events our community is capturing,” the statement added.

To access the feature, pinch to zoom out from the camera screen when you launch the app.

Tap on new updates at the bottom of the screen, then swipe horizontally to scroll through updates from your friends and other content from Snap Map.

If you want to delete your status or turn on Ghost Mode (which hides your location) tap on the settings icon in the top right hand of the map.

In 2017, Snapchat launched Snap Map as a tool to let users share their location with friends.


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